A “lethal” combination of sun, cider and peer pressure led to the arguably one of the greatest streaks in sporting history.
While the Black Caps may have not pulled off a win in the Cricket World Cup final against England, Ben Sandall still feels he has one up on them. The Nelson College alumnus pulled off a miraculous naked dash onto the pitch during New Zealand’s Cricket World Cup pool game against England on July 3.
The 33-year-old showed lightning speed and agility to not only make it to the middle but spend almost a full minute showing off his “glory” before eventually being caught by security.
However, he wasn’t done yet.
While being escorted off the field by five marshals, Ben decided to continue his streak, brushing off would-be tackles in an elusive display that Jonah Lomu would be proud of.
The streak would provide the biggest ovation of what was a slow and subdued game of cricket.
Ben has pulled off plenty of memorable streaks in his time, but his effort at Chester-le-Street easily tops his list.
“This has shot straight to number one,” he told the Nelson Weekly from his Morpeth home, where he is based.
Everything about Ben’s streak was spur of the moment, including the decision to attend the game.
“We got tickets a bit last minute and right in the front too.”
As Ben and his friends soaked in the sun and cider, the banter began.
“There was a lot of reverse psychology going on.”
The constant calls of ‘you won’t do it’ started to get to Ben and, as the game slipped away from the Black Caps, he took it upon himself to try turn things around.
“The boys looked like they needed a bit of a pep talk and the crowd needed a bit of a morale boost. I just wanted to get out there and lift some spirits, so I took my kit off and away I went.
“I knew I wasn’t going to be out there for too long, so I would have to get a bit of pace up but then I got to the middle, looked over my shoulder and there were no marshals.”
After being turned down for a fist bump by New Zealand batsmen Tom Latham and Mitch Santner, the burly prop offered the pair some advice.
“I just told them to dig deep, keep chipping away and bring it home, obviously that didn’t work so just continued on my merry way, did a cartwheel, always a crowd pleaser.”
Ben says the marshals “took their sweet time to get me off,” and when they did, little restraint was used.
While he looked to be caught several times, Ben somehow got away from Ben says he even surprised himself with his evasion skills.
“Hopefully can take some of those back to the rugby field this season because I’ve never broken tackles like that in my life.”
Security handed Ben over to Durham Police, who gave him the chance to reflect on his moment in a cell for four hours.
He was then simply given a caution, with no fine or bans.
While Ben has streaked at rugby games, birthdays and weddings, he says his days of naked runs are now likely behind him.
“It will be a big ask to top it, but never say never.”